FAIRFIELD (NEWS CENTER Maine) – A suspected cop killer is still at large after search efforts Thursday in Somerset County did not lead law enforcement to their suspect.
Police believe 29-year-old John Williams is still in the Somerset County area. Local, county, state, out-of-state, and federal law enforcement agencies are looking for the man police say is responsible with shooting and killing Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Corporal Eugene Cole early Wednesday morning.
The F.B.I. announced a $20,000 reward Thursday night for any information leading to Williams’ arrest. They also released new images of Williams, showing his distinctive tattoos on his torso and arms.
A large police presence focused on an area off Bear Mountain Road on the Fairfield-Norridgewock town line.
”They’re here working for us -- trying to get this madman out of the area. Good. I hope they do it soon,” said Brian Krampert, who lives on Bear Mountain Road, around the corner from where police were searching. “I think he’s got more to fear from the residents up here than we have to fear from him. We all have guns. We all know how to use them.”
Krampert said there was a large police presence there Wednesday as well.
Thursday, officers from the Maine and New Hampshire State Police, as well as Somerset County Sheriff’s deputies and the Maine Warden Service came out of a heavily wooded area around 1 p.m., wearing full camouflage outfits, including helmets, face paint, and camo weapons. They packed up their gear and left. Their cars had lined the road since the late morning.
Some people are still on edge, knowing an alleged killer is on the loose, possibly in their own backyards.
”It’s scary. It happened right up here in Norridgewock, about a mile or two up from the house,” said Armand Frappier, who lives on Martin Stream Road, perpendicular to where police searched Wednesday and Thursday. ”There’s a lot of woods and stuff to cover and as long as you stay secure and stay out of their way and let them do their job, it works out well.”
Police would not say during a press conference Thursday evening what information brought them to that area, nor the area where they executed a search warrant on Wednesday night in the town of Madison on Jones Street, which neighbors said was one of Williams’ last known addresses.
They said they also arrested and interviewed Williams’ girlfriend, but did not release any more information.
Police implored Williams to turn himself in peacefully twice on Thursday during two different press conference.
”This is normally a quiet place, but last 48 hours it hasn’t been. It was a senseless murder. We’re just getting through it the best we can,” said Krampert. ”It’s horrific. It’s totally uncalled for. Why did he kill him? It’s insane. It’s insanity.”
Many questions remain about what interaction brought Williams and Cole together around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Cole was found dead on Mercer Road in Norridgewock. Williams then allegedly stole Cole’s marked cruiser and went to a Cumberland Farms and stole some items.
State Police said that they were taking advantage of the good weather Thursday afternoon, bringing in air support. The Maine Forest Rangers tweeted that they were assisting with their helicopter.
Police plan to have a continued heavy presence in the areas tonight.
Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster thanked the community for their support while agencies conduct this search.